Ammon: Missionary to the Lamanites


(This story is found in Alma 17–19.)

Ammon and his brothers, the sons of King Mosiah, begged their father to let them go on a mission to the Lamanites. King Mosiah was not sure he should let his sons go, because the Lamanites were a wicked people who delighted in killing. Mosiah prayed and asked the Lord.

The Lord said, “Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites.” When some of Ammon’s friends heard about his desire, they laughed. They thought it was a waste of time to try to teach the wicked Lamanites. But Ammon and his brothers wanted every person to have an opportunity to hear the gospel.

They left their home in Zarahemla and traveled to the land of Nephi, where the Lamanites lived. While they journeyed, they fasted often and prayed that they might be instruments in the hands of God to bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth. After arriving in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, they separated, each going a different direction.

Leaving the others, Ammon went alone into the land of Ishmael. When he entered the land, he was captured and thrown into prison. The Lamanites tied him up as an enemy and dragged him before their king, asking whether they should kill him or not. Surrounded by Lamanites, Ammon faced King Lamoni fearlessly. Lamoni asked Ammon if he wanted to live among the Lamanites.

Humbly Ammon replied, “I desire to dwell among this people for a time, yea, and perhaps until the day I die.” This answer pleased King Lamoni greatly, so he had Ammon untied and offered Ammon one of his daughters for a wife. But Ammon had come to do missionary work, so he answered, “Nay, but I will be thy servant.” So Ammon became a servant to King Lamoni.

Three days later, Ammon and other servants were driving the king’s flocks to the watering place where they could drink, when a group of wicked Lamanites came and chased away the king’s sheep.

“Now the king will slay us, as he has our brethren because their flocks were scattered,” cried the King’s servants. But Ammon was filled with joy. Now he would have a chance to show the Lord’s power and gain the servants’ confidence, so that they would believe his words.

“Be of good cheer,” encouraged Ammon. “Let us gather the flocks and save them, that we may not be killed.”

The servants rushed to gather the flocks, but the group of wicked Lamanites came again.

“Encircle the sheep, that they will not be scattered!” directed Ammon, “And I will go and fight off these wicked men.”

The Lamanite robbers were not afraid of Ammon, for they thought that one of their men could easily kill him. But they did not know that the Lord had promised King Mosiah that Ammon would be protected on his mission. Trusting in the Lord, Ammon went to fight the men alone.

[The robbers were] wicked men with stones. But the robbers were unable to hit Ammon with their stones. Angrily they rushed at him with their clubs, but when they raised their clubs, he cut off their arms with his sword. Frightened, the evil men ran away.

The servants tending the sheep were amazed. They gathered up the cut-off arms, carried them to King Lamoni, and told him all that had happened.

“Surely, this is more than a man,” thought the king. “Behold, is not this the Great Spirit, who doth send such great punishments upon this people because of their murders?”

“Whether he be the Great Spirit or a man,” the servants answered, “we know not; but this much we do know, that he cannot be slain by the enemies of the king; neither can they scatter the king’s flocks when he is with us.”

“Where is this man that has such great power?” King Lamoni asked.

“Behold, he is feeding thy horses.”

Lamoni said, “Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man. Now I surely know that this is the Great Spirit, and I would desire him that he come in unto me, but I dare not.”

When Ammon returned to report that he had finished his work, he was surprised to see the expression on King Lamoni’s face had changed. Ammon turned to leave, but the king’s servant stopped him, saying, “Powerful One, the king desireth thee to stay.”

Ammon turned to the king and asked, “What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king?” But Lamoni did not know what to say. Then Ammon asked again, “What desirest thou of me?” But still the king could not answer.

Being filled with the Spirit of God, Ammon understood the king’s thoughts. “You marvel because I defended your flocks,” exclaimed Ammon; “but I am thy servant and whatsoever thou askest of me which is right that will I do.”

Finally, King Lamoni spoke: “Who art thou? Art thou that Great Spirit, who knows all things?”

“I am not,” Ammon answered.

“Then by what power do ye know my thoughts and do these great works?” questioned the king.

“If I tell thee, wilt thou believe my words?” asked Ammon.

And the king exclaimed, “Yea, I will believe all thy words.”

Now Lamoni was ready to be taught the gospel. Ammon taught him about God, the creation of the world, and the purpose of life. The king believed Ammon and began to pray: “O Lord, have mercy upon me and my people.” Then he fell to the earth as if he were dead. Lamoni’s servants carried him to his room, where he lay lifeless for two days and nights.

At the queen’s request, Ammon came to see her husband. Ammon assured her that Lamoni was not dead, but would arise the next day. The queen believed, and the next day, as Ammon had promised, King Lamoni arose. The king told all the people in the palace that he had seen his Redeemer. He began to teach his people the great things that Ammon had taught him. Lamoni and many of his people were baptized. Thus, Ammon had opened the preaching of the gospel in one of the Lamanite lands.